Tag Archives: Nice Shoes

EP Nick Litwinko leads Nice Shoes’ new long-form VFX arm

NYC-based creative studio Nice Shoes has hired executive producer Nick Litwinko to lead its new film and episodic VFX division. Litwinko, who has built a career on infusing a serial entrepreneur approach to the development of creative studios, will grow the division, recruiting talent to bring a boutique, collaborative approach to visual effects for long-form entertainment projects. The division will focus on feature film and episodic projects.

Since coming on board with Nice Shoes, Litwinko and his team already have three long-form projects underway and will continue working to sign on new talent.

Litwinko launched his career at MTV during the height of its popularity, working as a senior producer for MTV Promos/Animation before stepping up as executive producer/director for MTV Commercials. His decade-long tenure led him to launch his own company, Rogue Creative, where he served dual roles as EP and director and oversaw a wide range of animated, live-action and VFX-driven branded campaigns. He was later named senior producer for Psyop New York before launching the New York office of Blind. He moved on to join the team at First Avenue Machine as executive producer/head of production. He was then recruited to join Shooters Inc. as managing director, leading a strategic rebrand, building the company’s NYC offices and playing an instrumental part in the rebrand to Alkemy X.

Behind the Title: Nice Shoes animator Yandong Dino Qiu

This artist/designer has taken to sketching people on the subway to keep his skills fresh and mind relaxed.

NAME: Yandong Dino Qiu

COMPANY: New York’s Nice Shoes

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Nice Shoes is a full-service creative studio. We offer design, animation, VFX, editing, color grading, VR/AR, working with agencies, brands and filmmakers to help realize their creative vision.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Designer/Animator

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Helping our clients to explore different looks in the pre-production stage, while aiding them in getting as close as possible to the final look of the spot. There’s a lot of exploration and trial and error as we try to deliver beautiful still frames that inform the look of the moving piece.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Not so much for the title, but for myself, design and animation can be quite broad. People may assume you’re only 2D, but it also involves a lot of other skill sets such as 3D lighting and rendering. It’s pretty close to a generalist role that requires you to know nearly every software as well as to turn things around very quickly.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
Photoshop, After Effects,. Illustrator, InDesign — the full Adobe Creative Suite — and Maxon Cinema 4D.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Pitch and exploration. At that stage, all possibilities are open. The job is alive… like a baby. You’re seeing it form and helping to make new life. Before this, you have no idea what it’s going to look like. After this phase, everyone has an idea. It’s very challenging, exciting and rewarding.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Revisions. Especially toward the end of a project. Everything is set up. One little change will affect everything else.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
2:15pm. Its right after lunch. You know you have the whole afternoon. The sun is bright. The mood is light. It’s not too late for anything.

Sketching on the subway.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I would be a Manga artist.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
La Mer. Frontline. Friskies. I’ve also been drawing during my commute everyday, sketching the people I see on the subway. I’m trying to post every week on Instagram. I think it’s important for artists to keep to a routine. I started up with this at the beginning of 2019, and there’ve been about 50 drawings already. Artists need to keep their pen sharp all the time. By doing these sketches, I’m not only benefiting my drawing skills, but I’m improving my observation about shapes and compositions, which is extremely valuable for work. Being able to break down shapes and components is a key principle of design, and honing that skill helps me in responding to client briefs.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
TED-Ed What Is Time? We had a lot of freedom in figuring out how to animate Einstein’s theories in a fun and engaging way. I worked with our creative director Harry Dorrington to establish the look and then with our CG team to ensure that the feel we established in the style frames was implemented throughout the piece.

TED-Ed What Is Time?

The film was extremely well received. There was a lot of excitement at Nice Shoes when it premiered, and TED-Ed’s audience seemed to respond really warmly as well. It’s rare to see so much positivity in the YouTube comments.

NAME SOME TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My Wacom tablet for drawing and my iPad for reading.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I take time and draw for myself. I love that drawing and creating is such a huge part of my job, but it can get stressful and tiring only creating for others. I’m proud of that work, but when I can draw something that makes me personally happy, any stress or exhaustion from the work day just melts away.

Nice Shoes welcomes creative editor Marcos Castiel

NYC-based creative studio Nice Shoes has signed creative editor Marcos Castiel for his first US representation. With over two decades of experience as an editor, Castiel has worked with such clients as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Vodafone, ASICS, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Nivea and Comcast.

Castiel’s work ranges from enigmatic athletic-driven spots — featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi — to narrative spots for international brand campaigns. Castiel will be available via Nice Shoes’ headquarters in New York City as well as any of their satellite or remote locations throughout North America.

Marcos Castiel cut Summer for Portuguese media company NOS.

Castiel entered the filmmaking word with an eye towards directing, but quickly discovered the storytelling power of editing and made the switch. He began his career on the agency side, editing global campaigns at Publicis before moving to the production side where he spent a decade at top production and post houses. Looking to further broaden his creative output, he made the shift to freelance and continued editing top international campaigns.

“Nice Shoes’ vision as a holistic creative studio is very much aligned with my desire for creative diversity in my career,” says Castiel. “Being able to inform my approach with different styles and genres is what helps me continue to partner with clients to elevate their ideas and Nice Shoes truly stands behind that approach.”

NAB 2016 from an EP’s perspective

By Tara Holmes

Almost two weeks ago, I found myself at NAB for the first time. I am the executive producer of color and finishing at Nice Shoes, a post production studio in New York City. I am not an engineer and I am not an artist, so why would an EP go to NAB? I went because one of my main goals for 2016 is to make sure the studio remains at the forefront of technology. While I feel that our engineering team and artists represent us well in that respect, I wanted to make sure that I, along with our producers, were fully educated on these emerging technologies.

One of our first priorities for NAB was to meet with top monitor manufacturers to hopefully land on what UHD HDR monitors we would find to meet our standards for professional client viewing. We came to the conclusion that the industry is not there yet and we have more research to do before we upgrade our studio viewing environments.

Everyone with me was in agreement. They aren’t where they need to be. Most are only outputting around 400-800 nits and are experiencing luminance and contrast issues. None of this should stop the process of coloring for HDR. For the master monitor for the colorist, the Sony BVM-X300 OLED master monitor, which we are currently using, seems to be the ideal choice as you can still work in traditional Rec 709 as well as Rec 2020 for HDR.

After checking out some monitors, we headed to the FilmLight booth to go over the 5.0 upgrades to Baselight. Our colorist Ron Sudul, along with Nice Shoes Creative Studio VFX supervisor Adrian Winter, sat with myself and the FilmLight reps to discuss the upgrades, which included incredible new isolation tracking capabilities.  These upgrades will reinvent what can be achieved in the color suite: from realtime comps to retouch being done in color. The possibilities are exciting.

I also spent time learning about the upgrades to Filmlight’s Flip, which is their on-set color hardware. The Flip can allow you to develop your color look on set, apply it during your edit process (with the Baselight plug-in for Avid) and refine it in final color, all without affecting your RAW files. In addition to the Flip, they developed a software that supports on-set look development and grading called Prelight. I asked if these new technologies could enable us to even do high-end things like sky replacements on set and was told that the hardware within the Flip very well could.

We also visited our friends at DFT, the manufacturers of the Scanity film scanner, to catch up and discuss the business of archiving. With Scanity, Nice Shoes can scan 4K when other scanners only scan up to 2K resolution. This is a vital tool in not only preserving past materials, but in future proofing for emerging formats when archiving scans from film.

VR
On Sunday evening before the exhibits opened, we attended a panel on VR that was hosted by the Foundry. At this event we got to experience a few of the most talked about VR projects including Defrost, one of the first narrative VR films, from the director of Grease, Randal Kleiser, who was on the panel along with moderator Morris May (CEO/founder, Specular Theory), Bryn Mooser (co-founder, RYOT), Tim Dillon (executive producer, MPC) and Jake Black (head of VR, Create Advertising).

The Foundry’s VR panel.

The panel inspired me to delve deeper into the VR world, and on Wednesday I spent most of my last day exploring the Virtual & Augmented Reality Pavilion. In addition to seeing the newest VR camera rig offerings and experiencing a live VR feed, as well as demo-ing the Samsung Gear, I explored viewing options for the color workflow. Some people I spoke to mentioned that multiple Oculus set-ups all attached to a single feed was the way to go for color workflow, but another option that we did a very preliminary exploration of was the “dome” possibility, which offers a focused 180-degree view for everyone involved to comment on the same section of a VR scene. This would enable all involved to be sure they are experiencing and viewing the same thing at the same time.

HDR Workflow
Another panel we attended was about HDR workflows. Nice Shoes has already had the opportunity to work on HDR material and have begun to develop workflows for this emerging medium. Most HDR deliverables are for episodic and long form for such companies as Netflix, Hulu and the like. It may be some time before commercial clients are requesting an HDR deliverable, but the workflows will be much the same so the development being performed now is extremely valuable.

My biggest take away was that there are still no set standards. There’s Dolby Vision vs. HDR 10 vs. PQ vs. others. But it appears that everyone agrees that standards are not needed right now. We need to get tools into the hands of the artists and figure out what works best. Standards will come out of that. The good news is that we appear to be future-proofed for the standard to change. Meaning for the most part, every camera we are shooting on is shooting for HDR and should standards change — say from 1000 nits to 10,000 nits — the footage and process is still there to go back in and color for the new request.

Summing Up
I truly believe my time spent at NAB has prepared me for the myriad of questions that will be put forth throughout the year and will help us develop our workflows to evolve the creative process of post. I’ll be sure to be there again next year in order to prepare myself for the questions of 2017 and beyond.

Our Main Image: The view walking into the South Hall Lower at the LVCC.

Creative Thievery : Who owns the art?

By Kristine Pregot

Last month, I had the pleasure of checking out a very compelling panel at SXSW, led by Mary Crosse of Derby Content: Creative Thievery = What’s Yours is Mine?

It was a packed house, and I heard many people mention that this was their absolute favorite panel at SXSW, so it seemed like a good idea to continue the conversation.

How did you conceptualize this panel?
I had seen Richard Prince’s Instagram exhibit last year, and it caused a heated debate about what is art and who owns what outside of the typical art world. I felt it would be interesting to bring a debate about fine art into discussion with professionals in film, interactive and music attending SXSW. These appropriation discussions are so relevant to what we do everyday in the more commercial arts world.

Tell me about the panelists?
I had top panelists participate, including Sergio Munoz Sarmiento, a fine arts lawyer; Hrag Vartanien the co-founder/editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic, a fine arts blogazine; and Jonathan Rosen, an appropriation artist and ex-advertising creative and commercial director. This trio gave us really unique and informed insights into all aspects of the examples I showed.

The first subject you talked about was Richard Prince taking a photograph of the famous Marlboro Man ad and selling this photo for a lot of money.
This is a pretty famous case in the art world. Richard Prince has made his career off of appropriating others’ work in the extreme. The panel had a mixed reaction to this, although by a near unanimous vote of hands, the crowd was much harsher and felt that what Richard Prince did was morally wrong.

Marlboro

What are your thoughts about Richard Prince?
I personally find the work to be an interesting statement on art, meaning and intent in a piece and on ownership. The fact that it has created so much dialogue about what is fine art over the years makes him relevant. I think many people don’t want to give him that much credit, and perhaps I shouldn’t. However, I think he’s made his art in the act of stealing itself, and if you look at this statement that he’s made with his work in that way, then it’s easier to see it as art.

I thought that Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist and his lawsuit to Warner Bros. for the use of this artwork in the film, The Hangover II, was very interesting subject matter. Can you break this case down a little bit?
The tattoo artist who designed Mike Tyson’s face tattoo sued Warner Bros. for a copyright infringement in Hangover II. In the film, Stu (Ed Helms) wakes up after a crazy night of partying in a Bangkok hotel with a replica of Mike Tyson’s face tattoo. The tattoo artist designed it specifically for Mike Tyson and claimed it was a copyrighted work that Warner Bros. had no right to put in the film or on any promotional materials for the film.

The lawsuit nearly affected the release of the film, and there was a possibility that if the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement, the face tattoo would have to be digitally removed for the home video release. In the end, Warner Bros. settled the claim for an undisclosed amount.

This case does open up an interesting discussion about an individual not even owning the design tattooed to their body without a legal document from the tattoo artist saying as much. And creates the need for filmmakers and advertisers to clear one more element in our work.

What surprised you the most about the panel? Did the audience’s morally correct “vote” surprise you?
We decided that after we discussed what was acceptable in the art world and what was legally right, we’d ask the audience what they felt was morally right. The audience, nearly unanimously, voted together on all examples shown, and very differently from how the art world felt things were acceptable and how the court ruled.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


Catching up with Foundation Edit’s Jason Uson

By Kristine Pregot

Austin’s Foundation Editorial is a four-year-old editorial facility founded by editor Jason Uson. Nice Shoes and Foundation Edit have been working together since 2014, when our companies launched a remote partnership allowing clients in Austin to work with Nice Shoes colorists in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. So, when it came time to pick a location for our 2016 SXSW party, which we hosted with our friends at Sound Lounge, Derby Content and Audio Network, Foundation Edit was a natural choice.

In-between the epic program of parties, panels and screenings, I was able to chat with Jason about his edit shop, SXSW, remote color, and the tattoo artist giving out real tattoos at our party…

What was the genesis of Foundation Editorial?
I started my career at Rock Paper Scissors, and spent four years there learning from the best. I then freelanced all over Los Angeles at the top shops and worked with some of the most talented editors in the industry, both in broadcast and film. I always dreamed of having my own shop and after years of building amazing relationships, it was time.

What platforms do you edit on?
I am an Media Composer editor. I always have been, but I haven’t touched it in over two years. Apple FCP 7 has been our go-to, as well as Adobe Premiere. They are both amazing tools, but there is something special about Avid Media Composer that I miss.

How many editors do you have at Foundation Edit?
We have two editors: myself and Blake Skaggs. Our styles are different, but our workflow is very similar. It’s nice to have someone with his caliber of talent working alongside me.

How do you usually spend SXSW?
I usually spend SXSW in my edit bay, typically booked on some fun projects. I was lucky enough this year to get Sunday off for the party. I hit up a few movies and shows.

How did the 2016 SXSW party come together?
It was a no-brainer. We are lucky to be in the heart of it all and surrounded by so much creativity. We have a great location that lends itself to hosting our clients, friends and colleagues, but with so many people involved and with SXSW being as big as it is, it was no small fete. It had its challenges, but in the end it was a great success.

The tattoo artist at the party was amazing. 
My partner, Transistor Studios, came up with the idea, and I thought it was a perfect fit for us. We all have tattoos and love the process, and we thought it would be a great addition to the party. Damon Meena, Aaron Baumle and Jamie Rockaway flew our tattoo artist, Mike Lucena, in from Brooklyn.

What’s your favorite thing about Austin?
That’s a loaded question. There is so much to love about Austin. I think it starts with the spirit of the city. Austin is a genuine community of people that celebrate and encourage talent, creativity and artistry. It’s in the DNA of who Austin is. Although the city is growing at a massive pace, and we all see and feel the changes, there is still that heart — that core Austin feeling. Let’s be honest though, the food is a major favorite! I’ll just leave you with some key words: barbeque and tacos.

Before I let you go, can you talk about the last collaboration between Nice Shoes and Foundation Edit?
Nice Shoes colorist Gene Curley outdid himself this time working on See What They See for Walgreens. We created six long-form pieces, three 30-second spots, and somewhere in the area of 50 social videos.

GSD&M’s Group creative director, Bryan Edwards, and his team — Joel Guidry, Gregg Wyatt and Barrett Michaels — worked with associate producer Dylan Heimbrock. They went to Uganda and put cameras in kids’ hands to, “See What They See.” So their campaign needed two “looks.” The beauty of Uganda for the first look, and then our second look needed to not only be beautiful and thoughtful, but different enough to tell the story through these kids’ eyes.

Gene really found that common thread that it needed to be successful. It’s really an amazing service to be able to collaborate with the entire team of Nice Shoes colorists in realtime between New York City and Austin.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.

Quick Chat: Ian Stynes on mixing two Sundance films

By Kristine Pregot

A few years back, I had the pleasure of working with talented sound mixer Ian Stynes on a TV sketch comedy. It’s always nice working with someone you have collaborated with before. There is a comfort level and unspoken language that is hard to achieve any other way. This year we collaborated once again for So Yong Kim’s 2016 film Lovesong, which made its premiere at this year’s Sundance and had its grade at New York’s Nice Shoes via colorist Sal Malfitano.

Ian has been busy. In fact, another film he mixed recently had its premiere at Sundance as well — Other People, from director Chris Kelly.

Ian Stynes

Ian Stynes

Since we were both at the festival, I thought what better time to ask him how he approached mixing these two very different films.

Congrats on your two films at Sundance, Lovesong (which is our main image) and Other People. How did the screenings go?
Both screenings were great; it’s a different experience to see the movie in front of an excited audience. After working on a film for a few months it’s easy to slip into only watching it from a technical standpoint — wondering, if a certain section is loud enough, or if a particular sound effect works — but seeing it with an engaged crowd (especially as a world premiere at a place like Sundance) is like seeing it with fresh eyes again. You can’t help but get caught up.

What was the process like to work with each director for the film?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some wonderful directors, and these movies were no exception. Chris Kelly, the director for Other People, who is a writer on a bunch of TV shows including SNL and Broad City is so down to earth and funny. The movie was based on the true story of his mother, who died from cancer. So he was emotionally attached to the film in a unique way. He was very focused about what he wanted but also knew when to sit back and let me do my thing. This was Chris’s first movie, but you wouldn’t know it.

For Lovesong, I worked with director So Yong Kim once again. She makes all her films with her husband Bradley Rust Gray. They switch off with directorial duties but are both extremely involved in each other’s movies. This is my third time working on a film with the two of them — the other two were For Ellen with Paul Dano and Jon Heder, and Exploding Girl with Zoe Kazan. So is an amazing director to work with; it feels like a real collaboration mixing with her. She is creative and extremely focused with her vision, but always inclusive and kind to everyone involved in the crew.

With both films a lot of work was done ahead of time. I try and get it to a very presentable place before the directors come in. This way we can focus on the creative tasks together. One of the fun parts of my job is that I get to sit in a room for a good while and work closely with creative and fun people on something that is very meaningful to them. It’s usually a bit of a bonding experience by the end of it.

How long did each film take you to mix?
I am also extremely lucky to work with some great people at Great City Post. I was the mixer, supervising sound editor and sound designer on both films, but I have an amazing team of people working with me.

Matt Schoenfeld did a huge amount of sound designing on both movies, as well as some of the mixing on Lovesong. Jay Culliton was the dialogue editor on Other People. Renne Bautista recorded Foley and dealt with various sound editing tasks. Shaun Brennan was the Foley artist, and additional editing was done by Daniel Heffernan and Houston Snyder. We are a small team but very efficient. We spent about eight to 10 weeks on each film.

Lovesong

How is it different to mix comedy than it is to mix a drama?
When you add sound to a film it’s important to think about how it is helping the story — how it augments or moves the story along. The first level of post sound work involves cleaning and removing anything that might take the viewer out of the world of the story (hearing mics, audio distortion, change in tone etc.).

Beyond that, different films need different things. Narrative features usually call for the sound to give energy to a film but not get in the way. Of course, there are always specific moments where the sound needs to stand out and take center stage. Most people usually aren’t aware of it or know what post sound specifically entails, but they certainly notice when it is missing or a bad sound job was done. Dramas usually have more intensity to the story and comedy’s can be a bit lighter. This often informs the sound design, edit and mix. That said, every movie is still different.

What is your favorite sound design on a film of all time?
I love Ben Burtt, who did all the Star Wars movies. He also did Wall-E, which is such a great sound design movie. The first 40 or so minutes have no direct dialogue — all the audio is sound design. You might not realize it, but it is very effective. On the DVD extra Ben Burtt did a doc about the sound for that movie. The documentary ends up being about the history of sound design itself. It’s so inspiring, even for non-sound people. Here is the link.

I urge anyone reading this to watch it. I guarantee it will get you thinking about sound for film in a way you never have before.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


Quick Chat from Sundance: ‘Mobilize’ director Caroline Monnet

By Kristine Pregot

Caroline Monnet’s Mobilize takes viewers on a journey from Canada’s far north to its urban south, telling the story of those who live on the land and “are driven by the pulse of the natural world.” Mobilize is part of Souvenir, a four-film series addressing the Aboriginal identity and representation by reworking material in the National Film Board of Canada’s archives.

The above description of Mobilize doesn’t do the film justice. It was amazing, and I was so impressed with this while attending Sundance’s Short Program 1 — the way the footage was brought together through the music and editing — that I had to interview Monnet about her process.

Can you explain how you conceived of the idea for the short?
I was one of four filmmakers approached by the National Film Board of Canada to create a four-minute film addressing Aboriginal identity. The idea was to revamp their archives in a contemporary way, with new meaning and context. I decided to focus on a positive representation of natives and explored the idea of moving forward. I used images with movement, people building stuff and showing off their skills. Really just natives kicking ass on screen!

I also thought it was interesting to use archival footage to speak about the future, to express an idea of contemporaneity while still honoring the past. I knew I wanted the film to feel like a journey, be fast paced and exhilarating. I wanted our hearts to start pounding as if it is time to stand up and mobilize.

How did you choose your music?
I decided to go with Tanya Tagaq’s song Uja to complement the visuals and inform the editing process. Tagaq is a Canadian Inuit throat singer. Her metal/punk/tribal sound helped in adding a level of urgency and intensity and in making the footage contemporary. Her music makes up 50 percent of the experience.

What was your editing process like?
The turn-around in making the films was extremely short — I had approximately one month. Along with editor Jesse Rivière, who cut on Adobe Premiere, we edited over an intense week. It was good to have a specific concept; this allowed me to go through the archives and search key words.

That must be a huge archive?
The National Film Board of Canada has over 700 hundred films in their catalog, so you can imagine the amount of archival footage they have available. I did not purposely choose footage from a specific film. I wanted images that could work well together and would fit my concept. I went with my instincts and began to naturally pick clips from specific films.

In Mobilize, I used a lot of footage from films such as Cree Hunters of Mistassini, César et son canot d’écorce and High Steel, among others. These films are recognizable because they were quite successful NFB films.

For my part, I deconstructed the films and placed them in a different context. I really focused on labor and the expression of specific skills. I think cultural expression remains cultural expression, but with Mobilize we don’t necessarily focus on a specific character or narrative, we focus on the work and celebrating the amazing skills of these individuals. I juxtaposed a lot of footage of people building stuff and moving in a specific direction. The way I’ve reworked the footage make it seem as if people are preparing for something… getting ready for something important coming.

I wanted Mobilize to be an experience where viewers would be in for an upbeat adventure where their heart would start pounding, they would be out of breath and bombarded by a positive rendition of indigenous expression — a fast-paced ride where they would feel indigenous people are very well alive, moving forward, anchored in today’s reality, vibrant and contemporary.

What was the original footage shot on?
The original footage was shot on 16mm film, and I purposely decided to only use that kind of footage. It had to be color, and it had to be film. This was important because I wanted the film to have a certain consistency. I wanted audiences to wonder if I shot the footage myself or if it was really found footage. The 16mm footage adds a level of nostalgia and warmth to the piece without being outdated.

Where was the footage converted?
The National Film Board of Canada must have spent months digitizing all the films they produced over the years. I felt very lucky to have access to that material. There is some very valuable footage of indigenous expression that is still relevant today and could be used as a tool for education.

​There are two parts of the piece — can you talk about that?
Mobilize is a call for action. It is also a call to change perceptions on native people.  It’s about being capable of movement, mobilizing us to keep moving forward and encouraging people to act for political and social change. I also think the title has a double meaning, because there are different ways of mobilizing ourselves. Building a canoe or snowshoes takes massive skills, and I wanted to showcase that.

I also wanted the outcomes to be positive. Today, being “urban indigenous” doesn’t make you any less native, or any more assimilated. It is just a reality that exists. For me, the ending of the film is not about assimilation or that there there is more opportunities in the cities. I wanted to celebrate the value of hard labor, whether it’s done in an urban or a natural setting.

The sequencing of the images speak a bit about my own family history, where my grandparents where living in the bush, and with the passing generations we became more and more urban. However, this does not mean that I cannot go back to the bush and learn all these things.

I refer to “people always moving forward” as a statement to say that we are everywhere, well present, active and ready to kick some serious ass.

Where can viewers watch this? Is this available online?
For now Mobilize is doing the festival circuit. It played at the Holiday Village Cinema in Park City on January 30. Next is Berlinale (Berlin), Uppsala (Sweden) and Tampere (Finland). Also, the National Film Board of Canada is planning on putting the film online this spring.

In the meantime, you can check out a clip at www.nfb.ca/film/mobilize/clip/mobilize_clip.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


The future is in Park City: highlights from Sundance’s New Frontier

By Kristine Pregot

The future is here, and I caught a glimpse of it while wearing VR glasses at the New Frontier. This is Sundance’s hottest place on the mountain. The Frontier is a who’s who of VR tech, design and storytelling.

These VR products aren’t exactly ready for household consumption yet, but the New Frontier has become a spot for developers to show off their latest and greatest in this ever-growing arena.

On the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Frontier’s dark hallway, you’ll find Oculus Rifts and HTC Vive stations lining the studio walls along with masked viewers sitting on comfy couches reaching for nothing, sitting side by side, but in their own dimension of (virtual) reality.

A very impressive exhibit was Holo-Cinema, a new technology being developed by Walt Disney Co.’s Lucasfilm to expand the Star Wars universe to your very own home. Users, wearing augmented glasses, journey through the Jakku desert and walk around a 3D C3PO while he paces and complains around you, like a hologram. If you were to walk into the room without the glasses, you would see an unfocused projection against the wall and under your feet.

Music meets storytelling was a big trend in the lab as well, with the Kendrick Lamar-scored installation Double Conscience from artist Kahlil Joseph featuring scenes from the inner city of LA rhythmically projected onto two walls and set to Kendrick’s new album.

Another fun and interactive piece that blended music with new technology was 3 Dreams of Black, a film by Chris Milk, with music from the album “Rome” by Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi, and featuring Norah Jones. Check it out here.

While Sundance is one of the top festivals for filmmakers, I’m impressed with the breadth of new storytelling tools and technology that were on display. I look forward to seeing how the programmers further integrate this type of experience in the years to come.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


Sundance 2016: My festival to-do list

By Kristine Pregot

As a first time Sundancer, I don’t have much expectations to be managed. I am simply thrilled at the opportunity to watch some great films and spend time with friends out west, but I do have a few things that are certainly high on my agenda for the week.

Lovesong

LoveSong, directed by So Yong Kim.

1. Promote our film in the festival — LoveSong
I am very excited for the premiere of LoveSong (competing in the dramatic competition) It was a pleasure to work with the film’s director So Yong Kim. Nice Shoes’ Sal Malfitano graded the film in Baselight, working very closely with So and the film’s two DPs to create a natural and wonderful tone for the film through color. The movie was also edited by So, and she established a a beautiful rhythm in the cut. The acting is just so natural — the characters and performances truly stay with you. I can’t wait to hear the reactions from festival goers.

2.  Check Out Sundance’s Brand’s Digital Storytelling Conference
This year, advertising agencies will have a chance to shine and compete in the festival! I am proud to admit that I am an “ad nerd.”  I have a fascination with advertising and how brands reach their audience. In our digital age — commercials are clearly not what they used to be and have expanded with the potential of new technologies.

Sundance has grown into one of the most important gatherings of independent storytelling, and the festival attracts creative thought leaders from around the world. Increasingly, brands and agencies are partnering with storytellers and journalists to create engaging content. So the opportunity to screen and network with the most talented storytellers sounds like a lot of fun. I really admire what brands are doing with short form storytelling and thrilled to see this competition at the festival.

3. Experience the New Frontier (in the Wild West)
The New Frontier exhibit at Sundance is now in it’s 10th year!!  I have heard from festival-goers in the past that this is where cutting-edge technology is experienced and tested by creative/thought leaders. The New Frontier showcases cinematic works and virtual reality installations, which include an extensive line-up of documentary and narrative mobile VR experiences.

I can’t wait to explore the future of our industry and have a sneak peek at what is being developed by these media research labs.

4.  Keeping My Options Open
I am the type of festival-goer who keeps my options open. Yes, there are films I want to see and old friends I will connect with, but there is a magic that happens at festivals when you catch wind of a hot buzz and discover something unexpected.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


‘Fix it in…Prep?’ panel via Produced By: New York

Focusing on the value of getting post artists involved early

By Kristine Pregot

Working as a producer for the past 10 years, I have watched — along with many fellow producers — the enormous changes in technology and post workflows. The days of digitizing Digi Betas are long gone. It is truly an amazing and exciting time for post.

Producers are constantly (sometimes desperately) striving to stay current with advances in post production. So we at Nice Shoes thought it would be great to share the latest post workflows with the New York television and film community by participating in a panel at Produced By: New York, which was held last month at the Time Warner Center. We collaborated with partners FilmLight and Sony to develop this concept and co-sponsor the discussion.

Kristine Pregot introducing the Produced By "Fix It In Prep" panel.

Kristine Pregot introducing the “Fix It In… Prep?” panel.

The panel included experts who shared their tips on how to save time, money and, most importantly, headaches.

The discussion was moderated by Jennifer Lane, post production supervisor/secretary of the Post NY Alliance. She has supervised projects such as Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Into the Woods. Lane acknowledged that while most producers have a strong concept of what they want a project to look like, they don’t always consider editorial, visual effects, music or color grading during the pre-production phase. Bringing post artists into the conversation at the start of a project leads to enhancing imagery rather than “fixing” it in post, she emphasized.

Other members of the panel included Alison Beckett (Kill the Messenger, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Bessie); Brad Carpenter (Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie); Nice Shoes colorist Chris Ryan; Peter Saraf (About Ray, Safety Not Guaranteed, Little Miss Sunshine); Psyop senior VFX supervisor Dan Schrecker (Hail Caesar!, Black Swan); and Tim Squyres (Life of Pi, Unbroken).

L-R:  Peter Saraf, Chris Ryan and Brad Carpenter.

L-R: Peter Saraf, Chris Ryan and Brad Carpenter.

This panel talked about collaborating with their post teams and sharing how the early reliance on their skills and experience expanded the possibilities for the project. There were even a few funny stories of how post saved the day. One example involved a song swap for a key scene that was saved by the editor. Another involved a crafty blend of visual effects and editorial skills that allowed filmmakers to create an exciting new ending for a film that previously ended in a mundane way.

Summing up, filmmaking is a team sport, and with new technologies blurring the lines between production and post, we are all in this together. So, yes, you can fix it in post, but it will cost you!

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


Blog: The Hamptons International Film Festival 2015  

By Kristine Pregot

Recently, I attended the 23rd annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) — one of the East Coast’s best — which offers amazing films along with some gorgeous fall foliage by the ocean. It was a great weekend, one where I, quite, literally rubbed elbows with Alec Baldwin at a film screening — I ended up getting the armrest BTW.

Nice Shoes was a sponsor of this year’s festival, which was founded to showcase independent film — long, short, fiction and documentary — and to introduce a unique and varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to the New York market. The festival is committed to exhibiting films that offer global perspectives and innovative messaging, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences.

Our sponsorship contribution to the festival was an in-kind service of color grading for the festival’s Best Documentary Feature Film Award, which went to David Shapiro for his documentary, Missing People.  It was a compelling story, taking the view deep into dark worlds of art and violence.

The Nice Shoes crew, including

The Nice Shoes crew, including Kristine Pregot, (fourth from left).

HIFF is an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films, and they host various competitions, including a series that focuses specifically on early-career filmmakers. The festival also helps to develop a discussion around their films, both within the film community and beyond.

HIFF also ensures that films screened in the festival garner attention and coverage, by working closely with the New York Film Critics Circle, a group of NY based film writers who come out to screen and recap this year’s buzz-worthy films.

NYWIFT (New York Women In Film and Television) had a nice presence at the festival, with the organization hosting a joint venture for the 13th year with the festival organizers, called “Women Calling the Shots.” This series gives voice to the creative visions of women through film and video, including narrative, documentary, animation and experimental works.

They generously hosted a brunch on Sunday morning where filmmakers gathered to discuss films in the festival as well as upcoming projects. The organization awarded several scholarships, grants and other awards. The brunch made me extremely proud to be a member of the women filmmaking community in New York.

That evening, Nice Shoes co-hosted a party with the festival organizers for the filmmakers at the lovely East Hampton hang, Race Lane. We had a blast chatting with filmmakers about upcoming projects around the lovely fireplace.

In a nutshell, the Hamptons International Film Festival offers an amazing opportunity to connect with an array of talented artists. We can’t wait to do it again next year.


Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.


What I saw at the Toronto Film Fest 2015

By Kristine Pregot

For the 40th year, the city of Toronto has hosted one of the world’s biggest international movie festivals. I headed up to the festival to scout and chat with directors about future collaborations with Nice Shoes artists. The streets were swarming with some of the biggest names of Hollywood, Bollywood and stars from the silver screen of China. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) truly lives up to its status as an international festival. Every continent (except for Antarctica) had films showcased.

The festival drew the biggest film enthusiasts (cough, film nerds), from around the world to screen films, meet filmmakers and attend industry panels. The two-week festival shows over 100 films per day… that’s a lot of popcorn sales.

It’s mind boggling to make selections on what to see, because there will always inevitably be FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I started the festival watching the film Brooklyn. It is a beautifully made film, capturing the mood of Brooklyn immigrants in the 1940s. The filmmaker captured the beautiful and diverse melting pot that is New York. The film’s costumes, set design and art direction alone made the film worth seeing. And more than just a few tears flowed while I watched this film on September 11.

I met Cynthia Wade, the producer of Freeheld, at a Producers Guild event, and she talked about how she directed the Oscar-winning short of the same name. She had read a New York Times article about terminally ill New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester and her legal battle to pass on her pension benefits to her domestic partner. Wade sought out the women and knew she had to make this into a film. After hearing her story, I knew I had to add that feature to my screening list. It was a deeply moving film and to hear how it came to be made was a true inspiration.

Out of all the films I watched,  I Smile Back may have been one of the most depressing (in a virtuous way). Sarah Silverman’s character was extremely persuasive and I am not sure I will ever see her in the light, ever again. After watching this film, I felt like I had to go to confession.

By far the best thriller I screened was Green Room. Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier nailed it with this Midnight Madness pick. The film had a gritty tone, featuring punk rock, skinheads, killer dogs and Patrick Stewart — I can’t think of spookier combination.

Green Room's Jeremy Saulnie, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner and Joe Cole.

Panel: the cast of ‘Green Room’

During my time in Toronto, I was able to attend a few panels as well. One of the most educational ones detailed the Canadian tax incentives. Between the exchange rate, and the amazing cash back for post and VFX, it is no surprise so many filmmakers are turning to our friends up north for a hand.

The best tip I can provide for anyone attending next year’s festival is this: be sure to grab a drink at the Shangri-La bar. It is a very elegant hub between screenings — great drinks and fun celebrity sightings. Plus, you can eavesdrop on some of the best “for my next feature” pitching happening all around the bar.

Kristine Pregot is a senior producer at New York City-based Nice Shoes.

IBC 2015 Blog: Rainy days but impressive displays, solutions

By Robert Keske

While I noted in my first post that we were treated to beautiful weather in Amsterdam during the first days of IBC 2015, the weather on day four was not quite as nice… it was full of rain and thunderstorms, the latter of which was heard eerily through the RAI Exhibition Centre.

CLIPSTER

The next-gen Clipster

I spent day three exploring content delivery and automation platforms.

Rohde & Schwarz’s next-gen Clipster is finally here and is a standout — built on an entirely new hardware platform. It’s seamless, simplified, faster and looks to have a hardware and software future that will not require a forklift upgrade. 

Colorfront, also a leader in on-set dailies solutions, has hit the mark with its Transkoder product. The new HDR mathematical node is nothing less than impressive, which is nothing less than expected from Colorfront engineering.

Colorfront Transkoder

Colorfront Transkoder

UHD and HDR were also forefront at the show as the need for higher quality content continues to grow, and I spent day four examining these emerging display and delivery technologies. Both governments and corporate entities are leading the global community towards delivery of UHD to households starting in 2015, so I was especially interested in seeing how display and content providers would be raising the standards in display tech.

Sony, Samsung and Panasonic (our main image) all showcased impressive results to support UHD and HDR, and I’m looking forward to seeing what further developments and improvements the industry has to offer for both professional and consumer adoption.

Overall, while its seemed like a smaller show this year, I’ve been impressed by the quality of technology on display. IBC never fails to deliver a showcase of imagination and innovation and this year was no different.  

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@NiceShoesOnline).

IBC 2015 Blog: Beautiful clouds in the sky, content in the cloud

By Robert Keske

The weather this year during IBC might be the best I ever experienced in Amsterdam. Inside the RAI, IBC seemed quieter this year — the halls were less crowded and easy to navigate. I have to assume that everyone was enjoying the weather instead of being inside the RAI.

The theme of the 2015 show was “Content Everywhere.” This is a productization taking place to incorporate mobile and cloud technology into the production and post production process. Creative and collaborative applications are now running on tablets and smart phones in some innovative ways, from content bypassing traditional distribution to direct-to-mobile consumption.

After taking in the overall conference, I paid a visit to a few of our vendors to see what they were presenting at this year’s show.

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight has continued to impress me with their focus on delivering a full-service product line, offering solutions from on-set all the way through the beginnings of a complete finishing toolset.

Autodesk has made some nice advancements to the latest release of Flame 2016 Premium. The latest workflow and UI improvements appear to have incorporated user feedback and will surely be welcomed by the Flame user community.

SGO Mistika has also listened to feedback from the community, with the beginnings of a new UI, and the media management UI has greatly improved.

Another bright spot is the work Henry Gu is performing in content delivery automation. Henry was at the Data Direct Networks booth, and I highly recommend paying him a visit to see his work.

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@niceshoesonline).

Nice Shoes promotes Phil Choe to colorist

Nice Shoes has upped Phil Choe to full-time colorist after nine years with the company as an assistant and junior colorist.

Choe took a non-traditional route to a career in post production, attending Long Island’s Stony Brook University as a pre-med student before changing his focus and graduating in 2004 with a degree in fine arts. His first job out of school was with Nice Shoes, working and learning in the studio’s in-house training program.

“I had great artists and mentors like Chris Ryan and Lez Rudge. Our whole team has always been very generous, answering questions and sharing knowledge,” shares Choe. “I continue to learn from those guys every day, and I try to pass on that knowledge to our younger artists and assistants as well.”

Taking a sabbatical from Nice Shoes in 2010, Choe moved to South Korea, where he worked with Creative Image Company and Seoul Vision, gaining valuable experience collaborating with international advertising clients. He wanted to explore his heritage.

Choe’s return to New York was well timed as it coincided with an opening on the color team of Nice Shoes. Over the years, Choe collaborated on multiple documentary projects for Time and Vice, music videos for Kat DeLuna, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, and for clients such as Beats, Champion and Facebook. He has especially enjoyed the experience of working on longer form projects that have allowed him to explore and create beyond the boundaries of traditional 30-second advertising projects.

‘Live From New York’…. it’s Mari, the doc’s editor

Kristine Pregot, a long-time post supervisor who is now a senior producer at New York City’s Nice Shoes, sat down with Mari Keiko Gonzalez to chat about the editorial process on Live From New York!, an 81-minute documentary focusing on the 40-year history of the iconic television show Saturday Night Live, particularly the early years.

Pregot had worked with Gonzalez (@marikeikog) on Jay-Z’s Live from MSG: Answer the Call, and while Nice Shoes didn’t have any involvement in the film, Pregot thought this was a great story to share. So enjoy this conversation between to working pros and friends.

So I guess let’s just start from the beginning. How did you get involved with Live From New York!?
Executive producer JL Pomeroy and I worked together before. She has this events company called Jumpline — her clients are Cartier, David Yurman, Tiffany and the Costume Designer Guild Awards. So she is a woman who knows how to throw a party.  I met her through a producer who was hoping to turn the Costume Designer Guild Awards into a TV show. And here’s this woman who’s super smart, I mean she’s like the most incredible marketer that I have ever met in my life. Anyway, the first time she ever did a television show — The Costume Designer Guild Awards, which aired on Reelz — I was her editor.

Mari Keiko Gonzalez

So you were her “first.”
Yes. You have your first editor, and that’s like your first love — I’ve just worked with her ever since. During our second year doing the Costume Designer Guild Awards for television, we were editing at Broadway Video (owned by SNL’s Lorne Michael’s), and it happened that Lorne’s costume designer Tom Broecker, who is the other executive producer on the film, was there.

I did think it was interesting that a costume designer was the EP on Live From New York.
Lorne was getting an award, and Tom has a ton of awards — he also was the designer for House of Cards for the first season and set the look for the show that everybody talks about. JL always wanted to do something with Lorne and he loved the costumes vignette in the middle of the awards show. I didn’t edit that package — JL has an LA-based team of people that do those sizzles— but we incorporated that montage into the show. Lorne really loved it and Jack Sullivan, who is the president of Broadway Video, did as well. So I emailed Jack and asked him to meet JL Pomeroy. She had meetings with Lorne and she became really good friends with Tom. She also had meetings with Bob Greenblatt, who’s the head of NBC. Everybody said yes.

She pitched the whole film?  
Originally they were suppose to be like interstitials, but they ended up being welcomed into the fabric of telling the story of 40 years of Saturday Night Live.

All of a sudden we were in 8H shooting all of these people — from Chevy Chase to Laraine Newman to Frank Rich, Bill O’Reilly, Mayor Giuliani, Garrett Morris, Chris Rock — it was amazing. They wanted to talk about Saturday Night Live and how in a lot of ways Lorne was really ahead of his time. He’s a very private person and you don’t really see him on camera much in this film. He was so young to be given that opportunity. The show took form and they became instant celebrities.

They were saying a lot of really racy things that nobody wanted to talk about. Jane Curtin says it too — they were sick of the Vietnam War, they were sick of Watergate and they needed to talk about it. Saturday Night Live was the perfect platform for that. Even Tom Brokaw, who is another one of our subjects, was so candid and wonderful. He was in NBC doing the Nightly News and he would hang out with a lot of the cast afterwards and would go to the shows a lot.

I worked on a show with Chris Rock on Totally Biased, and he would give all the writers lessons by always referring back to Lorne and the “the SNL Comedy School”… how to push buttons and continue to push buttons.  
Exactly. Chris Rock talked about Lorne like, “We’re gonna go toe to toe.” You know, he loves Lorne. Also he’s very appreciative of all the people he learned from when he was there. There is no other show that is live, where they’re building sets every week and people are really part of the whole process. They sew costumes, and things can get cut in dress rehearsal, and then you have to do something else.

Studio 8H

Studio 8H

What was so interesting to me is that the viewer learns that every single person on the crew — the director, the stagehands, the cue card people, the writers, the lighting people — has to be “on point.”
Right, everybody. You can’t miss your mark. You can’t because then the house of cards will go down. You know it’s like everybody’s role is so vital to the 11:30pm time slot. They have a process that they do Monday through Saturday, but every week is different because the content is different. It’s like doing live theater. I’ve been to the show a few times before I worked on the film, and it’s really incredible to see how they wheel those sets in and out and how they build them out in the studio. It’s amazing.

I love that you incorporated so many components of the set creation as well. I didn’t realize how involved the set constructions are.
It’s a big part of it. It’s a huge part of the show. From the performers to the writers, on all these sketches, everybody is working in tandem. It was hard to do that in 81 minutes, to tell that story. It’s really the people that make the show. It’s really about you and your craft.

The movie did such a great job highlighting how Lorne really is the show. How he put it together, and then the year that he left it fell apart.
Yeah, it fell apart. Candice Bergen said, “I forgot what an incredible producer he is. The notes that he gave were spot on.” That’s what he does. He knows comedy. That’s a big task to come to New York as a young Canadian guy and find the best talent. And just because you’re talented doesn’t mean you’ll work on SNL. There are a lot of people that didn’t work well on SNL. There are so many people that got turned away. Again, they have huge careers, but I think it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do that show.

Can you speak to a little bit about the feminist component of the film?
We really wanted to show a lot of the diverse opinions about sexism and it being a boys’ club. I think it depended on the time that you were there, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus said it was absolutely sexist. Whereas Laraine Newman says it was always a meritocracy. John Belushi refused to perform in any sketches with women. He didn’t think women were funny. And he loved Gilda Radner but he and Jane famously didn’t get along. He would always try to get the women writers fired and Anne Beatts talks about that in the film.

Everybody loved Gilda and had the most wonderful things to say about her. Everybody just remembers her so fondly and I mean she’s like Lucille Ball, an incredible comic and person. The part about sexism was really interesting. I think what Tina Fey said is important — that when a room is 70/30 male to female, things are going to play differently than they might to the audience. So if the scales were more balanced, if it was 50/50 in the writers room then the people would receive the material in a different way.

Who are you going to hire? You’re going to hire your friends because that’s who you know. I think it was hard for Garrett, not just because he was African-American, but because of his background. He came from a very different background than everybody else that was on the show. There weren’t really roles for him. Keenan had to deal with that too — since there were no black women on the show he had to play women in drag. That’s what Garrett did all the time too.

I personally find it refreshing when people go to the extreme with jokes.
I think it’s hysterical. I mean look at Margaret Cho. It’s the same thing. You need to be able to make fun of yourself. She has all these running monologues about her Korean mother and it’s hysterical. I don’t think there should be a rule about what you can and cannot talk about. It’s comedy.

How did you not laugh your ass off all day long… or did you? What was it like?
We did! I was present for a lot of the New York interviews. We went to Al Franken’s office, but mostly people came to 30 Rock. They loved being in the building — it’s the history that everyone has such an attachment to. Just the interviews are hilarious and the sketches are so funny. There are ones that you want to see over and over.

You’ve edited a lot of music. How would you compare editing music to comedy?
It’s actually a really seamless transition, because when you’re editing live music or live shows, as with comedy, it’s very spontaneous. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, you sort of have a guide like a click track in comedy. If you know the material, it’s all about timing. You have to know when to edit and when to let it play. Sometimes the silence is what’s so funny. Some comedians are better at that than others. When you’re moving from topic to topic you have to be really mindful to let things breathe a little bit. It’s just a feeling. It’s just like music. People will ask, “Why did you cut it that way?” or “How did you know this was it?” The answer is, “because it feels right.”

Sometimes the editor needs to create space so the audience can enjoy the punch line and not miss the setup for the next joke. It’s about timing.

How long did the editing process take for this film?
We started slowly because we were in the midst of shooting the interviews. At first the title was Live From New York: An Expected History of America. Initially I was just editing down the interviews and pulling other archival source material. Our archivist didn’t come on until months into the movie. I think we finished the offline in 10 months, which again isn’t that long considering the amount of material.

Was that your full-time gig?
Yes, pretty much. Just the interviews alone… some were an hour long. We had Al Gore, Mayor Giuliani and a lot of the show’s writers too. We had another editor, David Osit, come on in the fall and he worked on the back end of the movie. We just kept refining it together.

So what are the next steps? Do you know yet?
It premiered at Tribeca and it’s going to screen at a few more festivals before opening in theaters in June. It’s going to open in 15 cities, which is really exciting. In the fall it’s going to air on NBC primetime.

What was your relationship with this show growing up?
I was seven when it first aired and my babysitters would always stay up to watch it on Saturday nights, and I would sneak in to watch it. I didn’t know the jokes, and I didn’t know who The Stones were, but it was just great because we got to stay up late. I’m a history geek, I’m a New Yorker and I was a political activist. It was great to be able to learn through the comedy and then to revisit that being an adult. Being able to appreciate all that humor, to be like “Oh my God I can’t believe they are saying this stuff.”

NAB 2015: Adobe, Foundry and revisiting the ‘big picture’

By Adrian Winter

Admittedly, it’s taken me a while to put this entry together, as the days between when NAB wrapped up until now have been very busy. How busy? So busy that I have yet to catch up with Daredevil. THAT’S how busy. I am not starting Episode 10, despite the fact that Episode 9 ended on a really crazy note and I can’t stop thinking about it. Instead, I am taking this time to run through my last day at NAB.

While the exhibit floor on toward the end of the show was significantly less crowded than earlier in the week, there were still some gems to be found that are worth reporting on.

Adobe
Wednesday morning found me at the Adobe booth, taking in demos of the new releases of CC Continue reading

Walking the floor of NAB: The day my brain melted

By Adrian Winter

The floor show of NAB opened today, and I as well as other members of the Nice Shoes team were there at the bright and early to see what the exhibitors had to offer.

The first stop on the show floor was at the FilmLight booth where I got a demo of the Baselight for Nuke plug-in. One of the strengths of having integrated color and post inhouse at Nice Shoes is the ability to go back into the color suite once a spot is conformed and comped for a final grading pass. Continue reading

Blog: Narrowing distances, building creative relationships

By Lenny Mastrandrea

Remote collaboration is not a new concept to our industry. The technology to do so is available to all. A number of software and hardware providers have used the expanded capabilities of robust Internet connections to encourage creative people to connect on projects across great distances, or to allow an artist beginning a project in one location to finish in another.

For us, the service emerged from a concern of clients outside of the New York area: time and budget constraints often precluded a trip to New York for color grading. We needed a solution that met our clients’ needs remotely without sacrificing production value or client experience. Our engineering team did extensive research into existing solutions in order to Continue reading

Pros share what they are thankful for this season

By Randi Altman

I admit it, I am one of those people who takes the meaning of Thanksgiving for granted. At quick glance, I think Thanksgiving is about turkey, over-eating, family gatherings and a parade featuring ginormous flying cartoon characters, but the real meaning sometimes gets lost in all of that.

This year I made it a point to think about all that I have to be grateful for, and there is a lot, including, of course, my family. In addition to them, I still get giddy about having all my music on my phone and just a click away. My wrists and I are also thankful for my Wacom tablet. It’s amazing. Oh, and Colin Firth. Don’t judge me.

Work-wise, I am very grateful that I got to re-invent myself with postPerspective and how just Continue reading

IBC Blog: How I spent my last day at the show

By Chris Ryan

There was so much to cover at the IBC show in Amsterdam, but I’ve tried to share as much as I could about the experience and the technology I’ve seen. Here is one more for you. I hope you’ve enjoyed my insights!

One of the most interesting items I saw at this year’s show was NCAM, which is a camera tracking system that uses a small sensor bar mounted at the front of a camera, which captures positional and rotational data as well as focal length. It feeds that info into its tracking server. This allows all that info to be fed into third-party applications so motion graphics or 3D objects can be placed into the shot so they appear as if they’re part of the landscape. NCAM had a spot in FilmLight’s booth, so I was able to get a demo of their system.

Continue reading

IBC Blog: herring and a wish list

By Chris Ryan

I arrived in Amsterdam on Friday at 2pm and was at my usual IBC hotel, The Grand, by 3pm. The Grand was originally a convent built in the 1400s and it’s beautiful.

After a quick refresher I went for a walk since the weather here is gorgeous, sunny and in the low 70s. My first order of business was to get in the proper IBC frame of mind and partake in one of my favorite Dutch treats, and I’m not talking about Cannabis. It’s Herring. Specifically “nieuwe haring” as you would say in Dutch.

Amsterdam is dotted with little herring shacks throughout the city that have various fish snacks and even hot dogs but they specialize in nieuwe haring, which is herring that’s been lightly marinated but is other wise uncooked.

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Nice Shoes adds EP Ed Koenig, colorist Sal Malfitano

A couple of months ago, New York City’s Nice Shoes added Ed Koenig as executive producer. He in turn just recently brought on new senior colorist Sal Malfitano.

Koenig came to Nice Shoes after years with MPC, where he helped build out the company’s US color department as executive producer. In addition to bringing Malfitano on board, Koenig also signed a new remote partner in Minneapolis — the name of which will be announced shortly. He plans to continue strengthening bonds with agency clients in New York, while also growing the studio’s network of remote partnerships, including those in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans and Santa Monica.

Malfitano joins Nice Shoes with over eight years of color experience with The Mill. He collaborated directly with Lady Gaga on her music video Applause, and with the team from Anomaly to deliver the Emmy-nominated Super Bowl spot A Hero’s Welcome for Budweiser.

“When I had the opportunity to add to our color team, the first thing I did was call Sal,” added Koenig. “He brings a unique point of view to our roster. Sal learned to grade in a slightly different style to the colorists at Nice Shoes, and I think he will complement our offering very well.”

Main Photo Caption:  (Top to bottom) Sal Malfitano and Ed Koenig.

Nice Shoes embraces remote partnerships and independent spirit

By Randi Altman

Eighteen-year-old Nice Shoes, an independently owned post house in New York City, has steadily been growing its footprint over the past few years by building a network of remote partnerships with other post houses around the country.

They are currently working with EngineRoomEdit in Boston, Republic Editorial in Dallas, Vapor Post in Miami, Pluto in Detroit, and most recently announced a relationship with Storyville in New Orleans designed to help bring more advertising work to the Big Easy.

Nice Shoes Remote Viewing features a secure HD feed and a display calibrated by the studio’s engineers to match exactly with the monitors in New York. The delay between New York and Continue reading